edcrane wrote:I don't think it really takes much more time to do well (as opposed to hit median) provided you're putting in a good faith effort (going to classes, doing reading, etc.). As others have suggested, the central challenge is simply figuring out how to study for and take exams. This was certainly the case for me. During my first semester of 1L, I studied my ass off, reading tons of supplements and taking lots of practice tests, and ended up with median'ish grades. During my second semester of 1L, I reoriented my study habits and changed my exam writing technique. I studied about 15-20% less than I did during my first semester and ended up doing very well.
This is exactly right, and one reason these discussions are so, well, annoying. There's no "E for effort" in law school; grades are only partially dependent upon the quantity of time studied.
But the opposite is not true: it's not the case that, because the correlation is low, that "anything goes." There are specific traits that are rewarded on law exams, and students who pick up those traits--not "study a lot"--are the ones who end with the "A" grades.
edcrane wrote:That said, you can choose to make law school an all consuming exercise in grinding. That would probably be good preparation for biglaw, but it certainly isn't necessary.
Here's where we disagree: while a higher level of studying is, on average, required for biglaw, it's a necessary but not sufficient condition. Indeed, firms are looking for indications of efficiency as well as mere grind-ability. This is where many law students, even those who are truly dedicated, go wrong.